The 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) had its first brush with controversy in only its second match after a contentious umpiring call made by Nitin Menon denied Kings XI Punjab a crucial run, and probably a win, during their helter-skelter chase against Delhi Capitals in Dubai on Sunday evening.
So, what exactly happened?
In the third ball of the penultimate over during Kings XI Punjab’s chase, square-leg umpire Menon called Chris Jordan for a ‘short run’. Television replays, however, suggested that Jordan’s bat was well inside the crease at the time of completing his first run.
Did the decision affect the outcome of the match?
It proved to be crucial. With Kings XI Punjab needing 21 off 10 deliveries to defeat Delhi Capitals, Jordan was called for a short run by Menon, which meant that only one run was added to Punjab’s total. Mayank Agarwal then smashed three boundaries in the first three deliveries of the final over to level the scores. But Marcus Stoinis dismissed Agarwal and Jordan in the final two deliveries to send the match into the Super Over, in which Punjab imploded to hand Delhi a win by the finest of margins. Looking back, if that one ‘short run’ was credited to their total, Punjab would have won with three balls to spare.
One short that wasn’t. Technology must take over in these cases…..but that’s possible if only the third umpire spotted it in time. What if #KXIP don’t make it to the final four by 2 points?? Tight #IPL2020 is likely to be… https://t.co/juCLU375jg
— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) September 20, 2020
Why didn’t the third umpire intervene?
Third umpire Paul Reiffel didn’t intervene because he does not have the powers to do so. According to the IPL rules, a third umpire is in charge of adjudicating no balls, run-outs and stumpings. In case of reviews, when given out or not out, players take a call on whether they want to challenge an on-field umpire’s decision and go to the third umpire.
Other incidents such as the ‘short run’ does not fall under his ambit. In such a scenario, the decision taken by an on-field umpire is deemed final. Rule 2.13 in the IPL rule book spells out the powers of the on-field umpires with regard to the ‘short run’. “A short run is to be signalled by the umpire at the end where the incident occurs. However, the bowler’s end umpire shall be responsible both for the final signal to the scorers and, if more than one run is short, for informing them as to the number of runs to be recorded,” it states.
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How has the cricketing world reacted?
Following Sunday’s fiasco, former Australia all-rounder Tom Moody noted that rules ought to be changed so that there’s a complete engagement with technology. “Unfortunately things like that are not thought through until it happens. Without a doubt the third umpire should have made a ruling but what the rule says is that they need to declare that it is part of the rules prior to the start of the tournament,” Moody told ESPNCricinfo. “It clearly isn’t part of the rules. Yes, no balls goes upstairs and third umpire is in charge of that, the run-outs and stumpings but they haven’t declared that any other incident like that the third umpire can overrule an on-field umpire so until that happens we are not going to have full engagement of the technology that is available,” he added.
Cricket commentator Harsha Bhogle reckoned that such contentious line calls need to be taken by third umpires in the future to minimise errors. “As things stand, the 3rd umpire cannot over-rule the on-ground umpire. But in course of time I see every line call being adjudicated off-ground with a trained replay editor, not only the 3rd umpire, watching the output of all the line cameras,” Bhogle tweeted.
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How has Kings XI Punjab reacted?
The franchise has lodged a formal appeal against Menon’s decision, and has sought for more technological intervention in the future. “We have appealed to the match referee. While a human error can happen and we understand that, there is no room for human errors like these in a world-class tournament like the IPL. This one run could cost us a play-off berth,” KXIP CEO Satish Menon told PTI. “A loss of a game is a loss of a game. It is unfair. Hope the rules are reviewed so that there is no margin for human error,” he concluded.
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